characters of character
often an organisation‘s presiding spirit is already apparent from its logo. does it promise more than the organisation can deliver – or does it tend towards modesty? is it pompous, or bland? is it cheaply made? does it perhaps even send out a friendly signal? the logo for gwzo (the leibniz institute for the history and culture of eastern europe) has been given a makeover. now it wears a simple but beautiful outfit with just a hint of extravagance.
beauty and structure
when you think, plan and design things systematically, they have their own inherent order and specific form – an intrinsic concept, rather than random haphazardness. the design elements – such as colour, form and typeface – arise not from some abstract focus on design per se but from an engagement with the content of the assignment (ooh, that’s hard work). design solutions of this kind don’t age so fast (aah, that’s great!) and they work (oh, that’s practical!). this combination of beauty and functionality is designed to delight any client and doubtless helped to ensure that messe stuttgart came back to us, eleven years after the trade fair and exhibition centre was first built, to assist with the preparations for their new hall 10, extending the wayfinding system we designed back then (ooh, that’s complicated!). this gave us a good opportunity to adapt the system to the revised circumstances – but other than that, nothing new had to be created (aah, that’s economical!). good design is durable – so it makes sound economic sense.
word on the street
coloured oblongs appear on walls across the city, making their voices heard. not garishly, not in-your-face shoutily, but softly, modestly, unassumingly, unobtrusively. in just two or three sentences. these are the voices of local residents, responding to a simple question: what‘s it like, living here? miriam holzapfel condensed and sampled the answers. the assorted colours signal the diversity of the people speaking, the texts – being quotations – are set in italics. the outcome? snapshots of everyday life – no grand statements, because this isn‘t advertising, no slick slogans, because none of this is made up. these are simple, unheard voices, capturing the moods of a city: acquiescent or sceptical, hopeful or pragmatic. the people speak, public spaces take on personal shades. this is mysterious, disconcerting, an antidote to everything that targets instant comprehension. because ambiguity, after all, is a marker of reality. and reality is where we are.
STOP! GO! LAUGH!
the ROUTE leads along dark corridors over dull grey carpets. to brighten it up, large-format – indeed positively outsized – brightly-coloured signs with either a purely decorative or a wayfinding function are displayed on the walls. these tension fabric lightboxes are printed with texts, with the decorative signs PLAYFULLY featuring a single german word – you know how long those can be! – in upper-case letters. the words were chosen by the philosopher hannes böhringer, some relating more to social affairs, others more to transport. they appear, for example, in a staff kitchen where co-workers can share a LAUGH at human FRAILTY in NOISY encounters that might prove a PAIN for colleagues nearby, until a FRIENDLY understanding is reached. it’s a concept that communicates instantly and intuitively: ATTENTIVE co-workers quickly grasp the CONNECTION, taking a CHANGE OF DIRECTION – yes, that’s just one word in german – whenever necessary. FRESH ministers and civil servants may come and go, some with SURPLUS ENERGY, others suffering FRICTION LOSSES, but the multiple bright colours remain. randomly allocated and refusing to correlate to any political party or level of the building, they generate an URGE TO MOVE, because it’s hard not to LIKE a VIBRANT environment.
the most significant religious location in the muslim world, the second largest building in the world, the third tallest building in the world, the biggest clock in the world … the signage system makes a modest contribution to this world of superlatives. the colours are quiet and defer to the exhibits. arabic and latin types are set in an optical balance and the pictograms are matched with the cultural, social and religious characteristics of the country. the wayfinding system responds to the need of millions of people to find their way around within a short period. the information accompanies them, with pictograms and texts helping them locate the main sights and reach them quickly, reducing the time they spend waiting.
navigating from pink b5 to green c3
in our cars it’s often the insignificant looking bits that play a vital part in reaching our destination. and signage systems are no different. in this case, the secret is an ingenious code designed to make the labyrinth-like layout of the automaker’s new building easy to comprehend and navigate. the technical details of the system are discreetly displayed on the walls and, like a reliable component, they make sure visitors and employees get to where they want to go.
if everything that seems trivial and inconsiderable, if details like this little leporello were seen as great art, if all the various trifling bagatelles in existence were lovingly and neatly designed, typeset, printed and bound, then – at that precise moment – our world would be a far more beautiful place.
“small” it may be but the leporello unfolds to an impressive four metres long and forms part of karin sander’s “kitchen pieces” art edition for new york gallery carolina nitsch contemporary.
mega! was für ein schöner ausdruck! mit weichem e und strahlendem a, ein kleines, griechisches wort, das in großen buchstaben gesetzt ein ausruf ist: großartig! und hervorragend! ist! das! hier! aber was? der leser denkt nicht an megahertz oder megafon, sondern an das eigene leben, das hier, genau jetzt, stattfindet (megaevent) und deshalb megacool ist, sofern man nicht megaout ist und nicht von einer megäre verfolgt wird. also alles mega? man kann sich auch die freiheit nehmen und die buchstaben umstellen, passend zum jahreswechsel – neues spiel, neues glück! entscheiden sie selbst.
wir wünschen ihnen, dass das jahr 2018 ein megagame wird.
letters on a page
the dual meaning of the english word letter – referencing both a written symbol or character and an item of correspondence – is a happy coincidence of calligraphic fate. as luck would have it, we can activate both meanings at once by drawing lovingly curved letters in a letter – and, of course, on the envelope, too. the author dispatched one such hand-written letter to thank the design magazine’s editors for an article they had published, prompting a swift response: a commission to design a hand-drawn cover for their magazine.
seeing, recognising, reading – it’s all a puzzle, a game of yes and no, with the allure of ‘maybe’. And it’s a game that can be applied to lettering, too. the urban planning authority want the façade to be decorated in its entirety – all 1,000 square metres of it – with a layer of graphic art, in order to beautify (or disguise) the vast bulk of this industrial building, set beside a public road. so we persuade the client to let us coat his expensive new façade by promising that it will feature his logo (and it’s nearly 100 metres long). the planners aren’t happy, though: according to their regulations, no more than 10% of the façade can be used for advertising purposes. and so we take the company logo and break it up into its component parts, which we arrange loosely and indecipherably enough for the planners to approve – but closely enough that it’s just about legible, still, and so the client is happy, too. for everyone else it’s a giant graphic puzzle – a puzzle they can (maybe) put back together.
segd global design award 2018
we are happy to announce an honor award for the signage system of the german centre for neurodegenerative diseases and a merit award for the facade design of rent event tec.
"Wayfinding without words! The jury was struck by the simplicity and difficulty of obtaining something so minimal and restrained. The bold and expressive solution, based on the needs of the building’s users, makes this system pure and meaningful to users."
"Creative problem solving at its best. Love the execution of this bold supergraphic."
tag der typografie 2.0
andreas uebele talks about typography, beauty and writing. friday june 8th, 2pm. RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, campus unter den eichen, raum b001.
brno bombastisch bravo
our monograph of works »andreas uebele material« will be exhibited during the »28th international biennal of graphic design brno 2018«.
andreas uebele speaks at the leipziger typotage on April 28th 2018.
prof. friederike girst and helena betsch with their students from academy of fine arts nuremberg visiting büro uebele.
andreas uebele designed the cover for the new issue of page mageazine.
unit live! typography night
andreas uebele speaks at unit live! typography night. the event takes place at december 6th 2017 at the royal geographical society in london. further speakers are tony brook, claudia klat, jonathan nielsen, adrian shaughnessy and the founders of 8vo - mark holt, simon johnston and hamish muir.
we are the city
from car-centric city to people-friendly habitat: the sunday happening on a major traffic artery that slices stuttgart in two is an act of civil disobedience disguised as a delightful demonstration with the renowned high-wire artists of the traber family. we’re on the scene too, because we designed the visual identity for the not-for-profit association »aufbruch stuttgart« (roughly: »a new start for stuttgart«) plus all the posters and flyers, pro bono.
what ist good design?
andreas uebele material in the new issue of page.
read the article:
fast eine kunst
ein wort auf einem haus in wien erinnert uns wieder einmal daran, doch bitte ganz entspannt im hier und jetzt zu leben (lokkaisi). es spielt keine rolle, dass die schöne beschriftung nur für das gleeichnamige österreichische presseerzeugnis wirbt (zitat: Mama und Tochter: »Unsere neuen Brüste lieben wir«) – wobei, wäre es nicht schöner: wir lieben unsere neuen brüste? ach egal, schrift im raum lieben wir.
there is beauty in the broken. without the fragile and the courage, risking to create something bad, there is no beauty without destruction.
in the streets of hanoi posters are hanging like newspapers on the wall. there you can read opinions about the city and quotes of goethe, which can be interpreted as comments about hanoi. these posters were made during a workshop with andreas uebele, organized by the goethe institut hanoi.
so muss es sein! glückliche gesichter bei der urkundenvergabe. die zeremonie wurde erstmals an der hochschule düsseldorf vollzogen? nein, gefeiert! mit der hilfe der boy group raoul gottschling und tobias hönow und der jury mit saskia diez und florian lamm und jakob kirch und peter ippolito von ippolitofleitzgroup. wir gestalten identitäten für andere. gestern haben wir auch identität hergestellt, und zwar für unseren fachbereich. kleine persönliche freude: meine ex-tutorin katrin gruszczyk bekommt für ihre von mareike föcking und mir betreute arbeit (manifest xenofeminismus) einen der designpreise der hochschule düsseldorf, den wir bei dieser gelegenheit auch gleich ins leben gerufen haben. eröffnet wurde die veranstaltung mit einem eigens für diesen anlass geschrieben vortrag von dem philosophen prof. hannes böhringer aus berlin.
der spiegel wirft das bild zurück und stößt den betracher vor den kopf. er zwingt ihn, das zu betrachten, was er kennt. der blick geht nicht weiter, man sieht bekanntes. wenn man den standpunkt ändert, wird das bild, das entsteht, ein anderes. das körperliche löst sich auf, wird verrätselt. ein trick, eine optische täuschung, die im raum eine schöne wirkung erzeugt. jetzt sieht man das, was nicht in der blickachse liegt. ein spiegelndes schild ist wie ein parfüm. es überlagert die wahrnehmung und bereichert sie mit einem anderen visuellen eindruck.
a woman and a man. standing calm and still, wearing a knee-length dress and shorts. no specific fashion is discernible. these two figures have fallen out of time. yet they aren’t hermaphrodites – who’ve always missed out when the sexual categories are defined: we can see from the two figures that the man is probably a boy, the woman probably a girl. it’s not just that they’re almost exactly the same height: the female figure’s undeveloped chest, the shorts – which tend to be the preserve of the young – are sympathetic references to the un-sexual. a shared naïveté – or perhaps rather a shared innocence – overlays the stark division of the sexes. the form fulfils its function and reminds us of childhood. the figures aid wayfinding and tell us a tale of rediscovering a lost age.
someone who is looking for the toilet comes to a door. he sees what we might call a humanoid figure. he sees a person. the body descends vertically from broad shoulders, the legs stand parallel with a small gap between them. aha, the viewer says to himself, this is the place for men. yet if the figure has a waist and wears a skirt-like garment it is equally clear – at least in the western world – that we have reached the ladies’ toilet. the fact that this information is understood globally is a tremendous cultural achievement – its importance cannot be overestimated. it is the translation of instructions, place descriptions or complex emotional states into an internationally comprehensible language – basically the invention of an autonomous picture-based language that functions across all national boundaries. together, scientist otto neurath and graphic designer gerd arntz laid the foundations for the international visualisation system we use today, which helps us communicate various important matters quickly and straightforwardly without using writing and words. smileys, emojis and emoticons are another wonderful example of this. here you can see the beauty of gerd arntz’s original drawings: woman, man. smile.
plädoyer für die maßlosigkeit:
mehr ist mehr!
pracht, fülle und ausschweifung!
many designs are for the wastepaper basket. what a pity. but they are a good fertilizer for something new.